Las Fallas de Valencia



La Fallas de Valencia without a shadow of a doubt, are one of the most spectacular fiestas on earth. They take place March 15th through the 19th and are intended as a tribute to St. Joseph, patron saint ofFallas_Valencia the carpenters' guild that started the springtime custom of burning torches and assorted waste from their workshops.  The basis of the fiesta are the Fallas, name given to each one of the gigantic structures made out of wood, cardboard, paper mache and other materials paraded through the streets during Fallas week. These monuments are mostly mischievous and satirical caricatures usually of local personalities that on the last day, at midnight, are set on fire in the “Cremà”.  Fallas are also the social clubs or committees that raise money to build the floats and the young woman who represents the city during the festival known as la Fallera Mayor.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to take part in the celebration and the number of Falleros (young mFallas_Valenciaen) and Falleras (young women) dressed in traditional customs now easily surpasses a hundred thousand people.

During the last four days of las Fallas de Valencia the city swells with constant excitement, there are nonstop explosions of fireworks, dances, musical performances and street parties.  Every day around 2:00pm firecrackers rip through the Town Hall in a noisy event called “mascletà”  that concludes in what is literally called the “terremoto” (earthquake)  hundreds of masclets exploding on the ground simultaneously. The Evenings are spent walking around town and enjoying the nightly firework show held by the riverbed anytime between 11:00 and 1:00am.  Local Fallas clubs hold parties on the street or at their casals (meeting headquarters) throughout the night.  All these activities all building up to the last day of the Festival la “Cremà” (the burning) when the splendid structures which just hours before stood proudly in the streets and squares of Valencia are reduced to ashes amidst the clamor of thousands of people who attend the ritual every year.  The Falleros throw everything that is considered superfluous, harmful or simply unusable into the fire and by doing so aim to make a fresh start and regenerate their spirit. The true purpose of the “Cremà” is not only to create a beautiful spectacle but to also start out a new Fallas year which always aspires to be better than the last.Fallas_Valencia_Burning

If you are heading to las Fallas de Valencia for the first time be sure to make reservations ahead of time and be prepared to experience total chaos.  Keep in mind the whole area of the historical centre is closed off to traffic for the construction of the Fallas, the "mascletàs" fireworks, the award ceremonies, the parades and other events.  It is not advisable to use a car to get around Valencia when the festival is in full swing as traffic jams can block whole avenues for hours, particularly around nightfall. Your best bet is to use public transportation or the local trains when coming from nearby towns.  In the city center the best way to get around and truly experience Las Fallas is on foot.

The weather during this time of year is usually hot and temperatures can get up there during the day although it is a good idea to bring a sweater if you are planning to stay for the night festivities as the temperature will drop once the sun goes down.  Rain showers are also common at this time. Most important of all remember to have a great time during las Fallas de Valencia as it will be an experience like no other...

 

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